Rest, Recovery, & Tent Rocks

I’m amazed at how some old habits still die hard. Especially my own.

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The Three Allisons, at Tent Rocks.

I’m amazed at how some old habits still die hard. Especially my own. The day after hiking Mt. Taylor, we took as a “down day”. However, I’m still trying to train for a 50K race in October. So I ran for an hour, on the 10k trail (of so it is named on the AllTrails app.) It was gorgeous to say the least. It still takes this midwesterner a little while to get accustomed to sights of jack rabbits and dodging rattlesnakes, all while adjusting to altitude. I wasn’t ready for a complete off day this early in the trip.

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I still wasn’t tired, but I was out voted 3 to 1. We spent the bulk of the afternoon reading, which was terrific, and I’m glad I lost the vote. Even six months in to my sabbatical it is still extraordinarily hard for me to unwind passively. I wish I was better at it, because we really had an enjoyable time. I’ve finished The Book of General Ignorance and A Walk in the Woods. Aside from being great books to read, I can safely say that Bill Bryson is one surly S.O.B. I’ve got The Second Book of General Ignorance and A Short History of Nearly Everything on tap. Maybe by the end of the year I will be semi-caught up with the literary world, or at least caught up to 1998.

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On the banks of the Rio Grande.

We took a leisurely stroll by the Rio Grande last night. Sonia jumped at the chance because she has strong memories of walking by that same river in Las Cruces. I’m amazed how the river IS versus how I remembered it (I’m sure that could go for a lot of things). In my mind, it is a small trickle (probably due to extensive use of dams and the fact I’ve never been out west during high flow, until now.) We saw some young adults jumping off a motor boat and swimming in fairly rapid currents. The river was at least semi-full, and I sure as hell wouldn’t take a bet that I could swim to the other side.

If you ever go hiking with us, a few things you should know:

-We always hike in the same order. Sonia, then Andrew, Allison to follow, and I’m the caboose. This keeps Andrew from sprinting away from the group (or from tiring himself out in the first half of the hike). Plus, Allison still has the shortest legs, so I can help her down the biggest steps.

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-Andrew is very European in his regards to space. He’s a close talker and a close hiker. He is on Sonia’s heels the entire time.
-Allison counts her farts whiles hiking. If she gives you a “number 4”, that’s your fair warning that you just got crop dusted again. She finds this to be uproariously funny.
-We always bring PLENTY of food. I swear the kids eat more than a normal day of meals on the trail.
-I tire out Andrew with what he calls “speed hiking”. At the end of our hikes, the last mile or so, Andrew and I sometimes break off and finish as fast as possible (he’s covered 2 miles of hiking in 26 minutes before.) That kid can flat out MOVE.

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We were at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument to hike today. It is close to both Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The area apparently was formed by some volcanic eruptions and subsequent deposits a long-ass time ago. Per their information, the only other place in the world that is similar in geological terms is in Turkey. Unless you have a free time spare in Constantinople, this is probably easier to get to for most people (yes, it’s Istanbul, not Constantinople, and we should all ask the Turks as to why it got the works).

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We hiked 5+ miles on the three trail systems there. Pound for pound, it is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever hiked. There are nice flats, steep, semi-technical parts to ascend, and fascinating slot canyons. Even our kids recognized that this area is truly unique. It’s hard not to hike up a peak or by a body of water, but this is well worth a look. And the area honored our national parks pass. That’s a victory, although at $5 per car to enter, it’s still a bargain.

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Tonight, we got to see the Albuquerque Isotopes play. No, they are not affiliated with the St.Louis Cardinals (they are the AAA team for the Colorado Rockies). They took their name from an episode of the Simpsons, so the concourses are done up with a Simpsons accent. That, and it’s the best stadium for baseball I’ve ever been in at any level. You get a view of the sun reflecting off the mountains to the east (beyond centerfield.) Our kids love that stadium. Tomorrow, we leave for a campground at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We have a date, and a little unfinished business, with the Bright Angel Trail.

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Author: Jason Kesselring

I am a 41 year old high school chemistry teacher (and former pediatrician), happily married, and a father of two wonderful children. I fell out of the Ugly Tree, and hit every branch on the way down.

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